Vale Willis (Bill) Summers, 15th August 1935 – 2nd July 2015
A tribute to Bill, by Barry Seghers.
Bill joined the then NSW Government Railways in 1951 at Enfield. Bill became an Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen (AFULE) member and passed through the various grades of a Locomotive Engineman and was appointed a driver at Enfield in 1963.
At the time Bill joined the railways, the NSW Government Railways were starting to undergo big changes with locomotive power to haul their trains.
The new diesels and electric locomotives were still basically using the steam era design for locomotive cabs, such as ‘RIG10’ seating, air brake exhaust still exhausting inside the cabs and very little cab amenities.
Bill conferred with the AFULE and a Cab Committee was started up. This AFULE Cab Committee then liaised with the diesel locomotive builders and the NSW Government Railways and thus a lot of improvements were made to the driving cabs of diesel locomotives, XPT’s, electric trains, Explorers and many more for the health, comfort and well-being of locomotive enginemen.
So successful was this NSW Branch AFULE Cab Committee that it became the National AFULE Cab Committee to improve locomotive cab designs throughout Australia. As they say – the rest is history.
Locomotive enginemen of today, take for granted what’s in their cabs and can thank the AFULE and Bill Summers for getting the AFULE Cab Committee started all those years ago and all the cab improvements that were made.
Bill Summers transferred to Taree in 1983 as a Salaried Driver, a job he loved doing and after 45 years of driving trains, retired in 1996.
After battling ill health for the past four years, Bill finally entered eternal life.
Bill will be missed by his family and his many friends.
Barry Seghers, Retired Locomotive Division Member